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Tutti insieme a poche decine di miglia dall'arrivo, con il Fastent da lasciare a destra e il vento da risalire. E poi, come se...

Solitaire du Figaro – Kinsale – Tutti insieme a poche decine di miglia dall’arrivo, con il Fastent da lasciare a destra e il vento da risalire. E poi, come se non bastasse, il difficile approccio alla baia di Kinsale, dove, in condizioni di brezza leggera, tutto può succedere. Lo sanno bene gli skipper della Solitaire, impegnati da quasi quarantotto ore lungo la rotta che da Brest conduce nella cittadina irlandese.

La flotta, aperta a raggiera lungo la via più breve, è guidata da Nicolas Lunven, ma i giochi sono ben lontani dall’essere decisi. Basta guardare la tabella dei distacchi per rendersi conto che mai come in questa occasione bisogna avere pazienza. I primi dieci sono infatti radunati in appena un paio di miglia.

Del gruppo di testa fa ovviamente parte Armel Le Cléac’h. Lo Sciacallo, che ha vinto a mani basse le prime due frazioni, è stato anche al comando della tappa ed è ora terzo a meno di un miglio dal battistrada. Tra lo skipper di Brit Air e il leader si è inserito Nicolas Lunven. Migliore dei debuttanti è Nicolas Marchand, che difende una posizione nella top ten.

Resta attorno alla trentesima posizione Pietro D’Alì che dopo poche miglia di regata si era avvicinato al gruppetto dei battistrada.

Per consultare la classifica clicca qui.

Per consultare il tracking clicca qui.

[flashvideo filename=video/solitaire/Solitaire_100810.flv /]
Terza tappa, primo giorno. Video courtesy Solitaire du Figaro.

[Solitaire du Figaro Press Release] The first night at sea of Leg 3 proved to be as demanding as expected, with the skippers fighting against high winds, cold weather, drizzling rain, fog and, especially, a very fastidious swell. Several blown spinnakers but the whole fleet is fastly sailing towards Ireland. After keeping the lead for more than 24 hours, Thomas Rouxel, has to lave first place to Armel Le Cleac’h. Yet, nothing is carved in stone as the first 26 boats are only 5 miles apart at 150 miles from the finish.

Last night’s Channel crossing from Portsal to Wolf Rock was wet and bumpy for the 44 skippers racing in the 41st edition of La Solitaire du Figaro. “Several skippers reported damages and breakages” said Jacques Caraes form the Race Management catamaran following the fleet’s progress in the Celtic Sea. The big waves got the best of at least a dozen spinnakers. Surely annoying but probably not so relevant for the rest of the race to Ireland because, in theory, the skippers will not need them to sail to Fastnet Rock and their final destination, Kinsale. The damage on Armel Tripon’s Gedimat looks more serious, her hull pierced following a collision after the start in Brest. “On starboard tack there is a leak” reports Tripon, at the same time reassuring that the situation seems to be under control and keeps his spirits high. No doubt that shore teams, sail makers, riggers and builders will be busy over next week in Kinsale.

For the sailors’ joy the long, uncomfortable reaching in high winds up to 25 knots, grey and wet conditions came to an end early in the morning when the leaders rounded the Wolf Rock lighthouse and entered the Celtic sea. The first skipper to reach midpoint to the finish was a consistent Thomas Rouxel. The fleet later had to deal with a sudden 90° wind shift, provoked by the quick passage of a front, he wind from south westerly became north easterly. Sure enough there will be more of such variations to negotiate before seeing the famous Fastnet Rock, as confirmed by Meteo France’s weather expert Sylvain Mondon: “the wind shifty and unstable, coming from the northern sector”. No big news there, since before leaving Brest all the skippers declared that they very particularly wary of the Celtic Sea and its tactical tricks.

The tricky sea and hard tactical choices don’t seem to be a major problem for Armel Le Cleach who is reported to have got in the lead once again, overtaking Thomas Rouxel and preceding also Jean-Pierre Nicol in third. Yet the skippers are sailing in a very compact group, only 4.5 miles separate the leader from the 26th placed, Italian Pietro D’Alì. Yet, another brilliant performance to register from Portuguese Francisco Lobato, who’s been in the leading pack since the start and now lies in 12th position only two miles behind Le Cleac’h and first in the newcomers special ranking. Franco/German Isabelle Joschke is 25th, Swiss Bernard Stamm is 35th and Jonny Malbon is in 42th at ten miles from the top.

As per the latest computer simulations the ETA for the leaders at the Fastnet could be tomorrow between 9 and 12 GMT while the leaders could be crossing the finish line at Old Head of Kinsale.

To read the standing click here.

To read the tracking click here.

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